Rolling up Jack's sleeve to examine the sores again, Wendy concludes that they haven’t improved, and are now possibly infected. Uncertain of their cause and appropriate treatment, she suggests to Jack that he have the nurse practitioner (NP) at the clinic take a look at them. Jack declines.
Knowing she’ll be away for the next two weeks, Wendy‘s concerned about follow-up for Jack. It will be hard for another nurse to assess whether the sores have deteriorated or improved without having previously seen them. Wendy decides to take a picture of the sores with her personal phone and text it to the nurses caring for Jack in her absence. That way, they can compare the change in the sores over time.
Wendy explains that she’s going to take a picture for his record, and without waiting for a reply, takes a photo of the sores on Jack’s arm. Jack doesn't say anything. She gives Jack a reassuring smile and rolls down his sleeve. Afterwards, she makes a brief note in Jack’s record and sends the photo to her colleagues’ personal cell phones. Still looking for a diagnosis, she decides to also email the photo to the NP at the clinic.
Despite Wendy's good intentions, her actions breached Jack's privacy. She neither explained why she was taking the photo, nor obtained his consent to take or share it with her colleagues and the NP. Jack's silence did not mean he consented to having the photo taken, or to it being shared.
Wendy needed to discuss why she wanted to take a picture of the wound and obtain Jack's consent to take and share the photo with her colleagues. By not obtaining Jack's consent and using her personal cell phone, Wendy acted inappropriately. She infringed on his privacy by taking a photo of his arm and sharing it without his consent. She also breached her employer policy by using her personal phone to store and share client information.
While Wendy’s intention was to support continuity of care for Jack, she needed to follow the Professional Standards, Privacy and Confidentiality practice standard and legal processes. This includes:
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